Tongaat-Hulett board requests temporary suspension of JSE listing

Embattled sugar producer Tongaat-Hulett has requested the suspension of its listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), with immediate effect the group announced on Monday.

The company’s secondary listing on the London Stock Exchange has also been suspended.

The move comes amid concerns over possible financial irregularities at the company, and questions over corporate governance in the private sector after the spectacular failure of retailer Steinhoff.

READ MORE: Tongaat mess puts Deloitte in another sticky situation

Last month, Tongaat revealed that its financial statements for the year ended March 31 would need to be restated. This is after an on-going financial review revealed past practises that were of “significant concern” to the board, and “resulted in financial statements that did notreflect Tongaat Hulett’s underlying business performance accurately”.

The company said the restatements could amount to a reduction of between R3.5-billion to R4.5-billion. Problematic areas identified included how the company previously accounted for land sales in terms of international financial reporting standards as well as how it valued its growing sugar cane.

The board said that it has now concluded that the company’s unaudited interim results for the six months ended September 30 2018 cannot be relied upon, nor can its February trading statement issued for the twelve months ended March 31 2019.

Due to its concerns that there is “insufficient information in the market to enable investors to make informed decisions” and a risk of speculative trading it voluntarily approached the JSE with a request for the suspension.

Other objectives for the suspension also included allowing the group’s management more time to support the completion of the forensic investigation and the restatements, in order to release the March 2019 financial statements, which it has previously said it aimed to release by October.

The decision has not been taken lightly the board said. “Whilst the Board is conscious that some shareholders or potential investors would prefer to retain the ability to buy and sell shares, the Board believes that the temporary suspension is in the best interests of shareholders as a whole,” it said.

It viewed the suspension as temporary the company said and expected it to be lifted “no later than the time of release of the March 2019 financial statements”.

Tongaat-Hulett also wanted to address any possibility of there being “two levels of information in the market” arising from the various processes involved the restructuring and reduction of the company’s debt. The company announced in mid-May that it was negotiating a standstill agreement with its lenders and other “obligers”.

Lynley Donnelly
Lynley Donnelly
Lynley is a senior business reporter at the Mail & Guardian. But she has covered everything from social justice to general news to parliament - with the occasional segue into fashion and arts. She keeps coming to work because she loves stories, especially the kind that help people make sense of their world.

De Klerk now admits apartheid was a crime against humanity

Apartheid’s last president walks back comments that definition was a Soviet plot

February 11 1990: Mandela’s media conquest

Nelson Mandela’s release from prison was also South Africa’s first ‘media event’. And, despite the NP’s, and the SABC’s, attempt to control the narrative, the force of Madiba’s personality meant that he emerged as a celebrity

Eastern Cape MEC orders graft investigation after two workers killed...

The killing of two council workers at the Amathole district municipality appears to be linked to tender fraud and corruption

Strike-off case pulls in judge

Judge Mushtak Parker is implicated in an application to strike off his former partners. He is also involved in the fight between the Western Cape high court’s judge president and his deputy

Press Releases

Response to the report of the independent assessors

VUT welcomes the publishing of the report of the independent assessors to investigate concerns of poor governance, leadership, management, corruption and fraud at the university.

NWU student receives international award

Carol-Mari Schulz received the Bachelor of Health Sciences in Occupational Hygiene Top Achiever Award.

Academic programme resumes at all campuses

Lectures, practicals, seminars and tutorials will all resume today as per specific academic timetables.

Strategic social investments are a catalyst for social progress

Barloworld Mbewu enables beneficiaries to move away from dependence on grant funding

We all have a part to play to make South Africa work

Powering societal progress demands partnerships between all stakeholders

So you want to be a social entrepreneur?

Do the research first; it will save money and time later

Social entrepreneurship means business

Enterprises with a cause at their core might be exactly what our economy desperately needs

Looking inwards

Businesses are finding tangible ways to give back – but only because consumers demand it